“A Season of Solitude On The Road” Photographs
The photographs shown here were published in book form in 2016 through Edition One Books. “A Season Of Solitude On The Road” is a chronicle of these months of travel, and an exploration of our universal desire to know ourselves through the journeys we take.
I moved to California at the age of 24, leaving New York where I had lived all my life. It was the first time I had
entered the unknown in a significant way, and it forever changed the person I was before.
I spent six years in San Francisco before the once new and unfamiliar hills of California became known.
As my life in San Francisco invited more and more sameness each day, I began to feel trapped in the life I had
so intentionally created. One Sunday, on a drive back to the city from the massive, desolate hills of Northern
California, I realized it was time once more for some big change. I began planning for a photography project
that would take me around the United States for the next 9 months, alone.
I set out on August 8th of 2014. Day 1 on the road. As the distance expanded from the place I just left, forward
motion already began to change me. Any significant length of time on the road will pare down your belongings to
just some. It shears away unnecessary thoughts. Outside the crowds, the people and the constant conversation,
there is available space to think; like the silence between the reach of radio stations in the desert. Only the
important questions are left in place, all terrifying and significant.
That year I felt so defined by choice. I thought my decisions would frame everything with meaning- which places I would
explore, which people I chose to meet, or the challenges I planned for myself. But the things I thought I’d learn, I didn’t, and my map was not the terrain that I traveled. There were great tides of terror and continual free-falls. The direct stares of fearful things that kicked out my feet. Death, loneliness, solitude and self-worth. Dependence and deep uncertainty. In my struggles on the road my fragility spoke loudly, in an accelerated barrage of scary truths.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this fragility, and how I had seen my sensitivity as something to be fixed, or shored up. Instead, it might be this close attention and easy emotion that lets me see things like the marks small branches make in the desert, swept back and forth by the wind. Drawing arcs that tell the story of passing time.
Before leaving in August, I read only stories from the road. As I followed the paths other writers wore down, I found John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley. On the eve of my leaving I wrote down his words, a sentiment I did not then fully understand. “We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us.”
In this book are the images from the trip that has taken me.